2nd August 2013
The Wirral News is a Trinity Mirror publication.
“At the Wirral News, we pride ourselves in journalism that is honest, accurate and fair. Our journalists adhere to the Editors Code of Practice, which sets the benchmark for high professional standards and is enforced by the Press Complaints Commission. If we do slip up, we promise to set the record straight on this page in a clear, no-nonsense manner. To ask for an inaccuracy to be corrected, phone 0151 285 8476, email Group Editor, Andrew Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at Trinity Mirror Merseyside, 48 Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB”
Questions, questions… let’s formulate a few…
I rang the Wirral News this morning, asking to speak to Andrew Edwards. He’s the person who deals with inaccuracies, corrections and clarifications – I’m already unsure about how this would be classified …dishonesty? …a £commercial decision that sidelines the readership?
The lady on the phone said he’s away on holiday. Fair enough, it’s that time of year. I asked why Wirral Council’s scandal (the stuff of legend) hadn’t been covered since around February / March of this year.
Her position seemed to be “We cover it in the Wirral edition of the Liverpool Echo don’t we?” (the Echo is also a Trinity Mirror publication).
“So, I have to pay for my scandal?”
Laughter. It was a good-natured conversation largely, and she was kind enough to take my details and promised to follow it up today with the on-duty content editor, who’ll be calling me back …hopefully today.
I’ll have a look at this “Editors’ Code of Practice” and see whether they’re allowed, within a host of publications, to issue one (the Wallasey version) which fills itself with the usual broad scope of stories, but omits all mention of anything which calls the local council into question. Can a paper which doesn’t DO Labour council scandal also allow the Mayor to churn out half a page of one way traffic and the local MP Angela Eagle (Labour Party) to do similar on a regular basis?
I fear it may be the same story for Birkenhead / Frank Field.
This is NOT balanced – and people shouldn’t have to buy ANOTHER publication from the Trinity Mirror stable to achieve that balance. This could be interpreted as manipulation.
- Do the Wirral News / Trinity Mirror accept that this is the case – no council scandal printed for 3 or 4 months?
- Do Trinity Mirror have to be balanced in this way, ‘honest’ and ‘highly professional’ across all publications?
- Can Trinity Mirror deliberately ‘slip up’ and omit all mention of inconvenient stories within one specific publication?
- How much is the Council’s advertising budget within the Wirral News?
- Were there any meetings between senior officers of the council and senior executives of Trinity Mirror earlier this year?
- Are Trinity Mirror manipulating content in order to improve sales of Wirral’s Liverpool Echo?
- Is it time once again to test the mettle of the Press Complaints Commission?
3rd August 2013
Nothing heard yet from Andrew Edwards.
Having quickly read the Press Complaints Commission’s Editors’ Code of Practice, I might be onto a loser here. This kind of situation doesn’t seem to be covered by it. I’ll ring them on Monday and try to find out some more. It could be the case that newspaper editors can put what they like into their publications, online or otherwise, and it’s only the printed content that has to meet these standards.
But if that is the case, there’s room for manipulation by advertisers, or those with a commercial or reputational interest, over what ends up being printed in the paper.
UPDATE 30th December 2013
Wow… it seems the #WirralFail council leader has been ACCEPTING “gifts & hospitality – Including a Premier League football ticket from er… Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Wirral News…